Love it or hate it (screw you, I love it), Star Trek: Discovery will be coming back sometime in 2019 with brand new episodes, bringing more crazy-train insane adventures of Michael Burnham and the crew to a TV near you provided you pay for CBS All Access (Screw you, I cancelled my subscription until it comes back!)
When it comes back, we’ve been promised the show will evolve and there are a few suggestions I would like to make since I know that I have the ear of everyone at CBS who will be making these kinds of decisions.
Grab a pencil and take some notes, guys.
10. Change the Uniforms
I don’t really think that Discovery’s uniforms are horrible (with the exception of the shoes), but they are a logistical problem on a show where they dress people in blue and then put them on a darkened blue set. Actors blend into the background so much that they basically turn into floating heads.
What’s more is that they are incredibly drab. Aside from the gold and silver highlights (again, those shoes!), they are monochromatic, dull, and lifeless.
That collar is pretty terrible too, but not as bad as the shoes.
Let’s get some color going. Let’s see the command staff in gold and the disposables in red. I want to see something other than blue!
9. More Detmer, Shock Face, Reaction Shot, and Robo-Chick
If there’s one thing Discovery did very well it was establishing the fact that it was going to be about a small cast and, in many ways, that works for it. Keeping the group small has prevented Discovery from getting lost in the ensemble.
The trouble is, the ensemble looks so darned interesting.
I want to see more of these guys. I want to know what the deal is with Detmer and her head gear. What’s up with Ariam, the robo-chick? Owosekun… she’s just so damn adorable!
After Lorca was outed, there was a great moment when the crew worked together in a way we had never seen before and it’s well past time that Discovery introduce us to these characters officially.
8. Chill Out with the Reimagining Just a Tad
If Discovery wasn’t a reboot of the Star Trek timeline and does, in fact, take place in the Prime Universe along with all 600 episodes of Star Trek television that came before, you cannot deny that it is a visual reboot and, to be honest, Star Trek needed it.
The problem is that Discovery sometimes takes this visual reboot a little too far. The Klingons, for example, although, in character, being some of the best Klingons we’ve seen in Star Trek, are almost unrecognizable as Klingons. Their skulls are elongated, they are more bony, they are all bald, and apparently the guys all have two wieners now. Reimagining them is fine, but too much is too much. I can’t imagine one of these guys as Mr. Worf in the future.
What’s more, it’s not only the Klingons that have inexplicably changed, but so have their ships. Gone are the iconic birds of prey and D7 battlecruisers and, in their place… are ships that look like cobbled together pieces of junk.
Reimagining and updating is fine: We cannot expect Star Trek to remain a show that looks like it was filmed in 1966 nor should we, but a little of the familiar is comforting to the old guard such as myself. Give us back some classic Klingon ships… give the Klingons hair at least.
7. Strange New Worlds
While Discovery did, in my opinion, an excellent job telling the story of a Federation at war, I would love for season two to get back to the old Trek formula of seeking out new lifeforms and new civilizations. I want to see stories that serve as an allegory for our time, I want to see morals questioned and comfort zones obliterated.
Let’s see some first contacts with some obscure races from the TNG era or some races we’ve never encountered before. Let’s see Discovery venture into parts unknown with that insatiable curiosity that drives us all.
You see, that’s the thing that always attracted me to Star Trek: We didn’t go to space because we were fleeing Cylon tyranny or because the Empire blew up our home planet, we chose to go to see what was out there because we’re human and that’s how we roll.
Let’s roll that way in season two.
6. The Emperor and the Black Badges
In case you haven’t seen that really awesome deleted scene that’s been floating around the interwebs, allow me to sum it up for you: Some time after the events of the season finale, we find Emperor Georgiou still on Qo’nos and the proprietor of the sexy strip time brothel and liquor mart. I’m not sure how she got to this point and I shudder to imagine what happened to the previous owner. The Emperor is approached by a man disguised as a Trill makes her an offer to join a covert branch of Starfleet intelligence. He hands her a black badge and says, “Welcome to Section 31.”
While I will happily admit that it makes no sense for a covert arm of Starfleet Intelligence who wants to stay hidden in the shadows to have special black badges that make them stick out like sore thumbs, the possibility of both the continued presence of Michelle Yeoh in the Star Trek universe and more dark dealings with Section 31 are so tantalizing that they should not be overlooked. To see Georgiou wander in and out of Discovery‘s path as a sometimes enemy/sometimes ally would brings all manner of wonderful storytelling opportunities to the series and perhaps even challenge Burnham’s speech about Starfleet being about principles and ideals.
It’s easy to be all about principles and ideals when stuff isn’t exploding around you.
5. A Blast from the Past
If Discovery wants to secure itself a place in the Prime Timeline and convince stubborn fans that it is the old timeline they know and love, just with a visual facelift, there are plenty of opportunities to do that not only with the arrival of the USS Enterprise at the end of the finale episode, but also with the cavalcade of Star Trek actors that could come by for a visit.
Why not come across an elderly T’Pol from Star Trek: Enterprise while stopping off at Vulcan or running across a younger Montgomery Scott or Doctor McCoy? Some of the parts would have to be recast, but if 2009’s reboot of Star Trek taught us anything, it’s that fans are willing to accept that, particularly when James Doohan has a pretty close carbon copy in his son, Chris, who has played the part his father made famous before in fan productions.
Micheal Dorn has played Worf’s grandfather before, why not play his great-grandfather? Meld that Klingon re-imagining with something more familiar?
Star Trek has a grand legacy at its disposal and, while Discovery was content with forging its own path for its first season and standing on its own legs, a little bit of nostalgia for the fans, both old and new, wouldn’t be looked down upon.
4. Make Star Trek Wondrous and Fun Again
There was a wonderful moment in the pilot episode where Micheal Burnham donned a spacesuit to explore a strange reading in an asteroid field and, for that wonderful moment, Burnham was in complete awe of the unexplored awesomeness that she was jumping into.
We need more of that!
Now, don’t get me wrong, Discovery had its moments of wonder and fun and, honestly, they were some of its best. Releasing the tardigrade, going on the spacewalk, the Pauvan planet… it was all written and performed for the characters to be exposed to the wonder around them and, thusly, so were we. However, Discovery veered more towards darkness in her first season, darker than Star Trek has ever gone before.
We get it… Discovery wanted to set itself apart and it’s done that, but let’s let out characters smile like kids when they see a binary star or a supernova. Let’s see them squeal in delight upon finding a strange plant or a new lifeform. Exploring the galaxy should be fun… it shouldn’t be terror and death behind every molecule.
3. Just Say No to Voice Modulation
Discovery has a strange habit of electronically altering voices to make them deeper and no where was it more evident than with L’Rell, the Klingon spy. Her voice was modulated almost to a comical extreme which was odd given that she was already a strong character to begin with, if a bit perverted and rapey.
It wasn’t just L’Rell. Other alien characters had their voices artificially lowered and it was one of the few things in Discovery’s amazing world that took me completely out of it, wondering, “Come on, why are they doing that? It sounds so fake!”
2. Counterpartings of the Ways
One of the darkest and most fun aspects of Discovery‘s first season was the prolonged stay in Star Trek‘s Mirror Universe and watching the crew assume the identities of their evil selves, not to mention the revelation that Captain Lorca wasn’t who he said he was.
The problem is that too many questions are left and the resolutions we were given just aren’t satisfactory. We need a follow up episode.
For one thing, there is still a Prime Universe version of Gabriel Lorca running around the Mirror Universe. Sure, Admiral Cornwell assumed he was probably dead, but you know what they say about assumptions, right? If Prime Lorca is half as resourceful and cunning as Mirror Lorca, he would still be around and looking for a way home. Not to mention, it’s just more opportunity for Jason Issacs to stick around.
However, Lorca isn’t the only character up in the air and, although Cornwell said that debris from the mirror Discovery was found, she assumes once again that the ship had been destroyed.
But, what if it wasn’t?
What if Captain Killy is still out there? Perhaps in an escape pod, perhaps with her whole ship? Maybe she’s waiting for a signal from someone familiar and, perhaps, that’ll be in the form of Emperor Georgiou saying, “Get in, loser, we’re taking over Section 31.”
There are too many plot threads still lying about and all of them are too tantalizing to leave alone.
1. Can We Please Have Our Episode Titles Back?
While Discovery‘s visual reboot of Star Trek took a few episodes to get used to, one thing I have not gotten used to and probably will never get used to is the deletion of the episode title screen at the beginning of the first act.
To me, it’s harder to remember which episode is which now. Yes, I know what the episodes are called, but, without the episode title appearing at the beginning of the episode, it almost feels like the episode never starts at all.
Yes, I understand that this is not a normal thing that television does nowadays unless you’re a cartoon, but we’re talking about a 50 year tradition here and not airing the name of the episode before the episode is jarring and upsetting and, to be honest, probably the one thing that Discovery does that I, without reservation, hate with a passion.
So, let’s bring that back, eh?